Lightning, Lava, and Bombs | Ben Nixon, Hendrik Paul, and Susan Seubert

MAIN GALLERY | 9.25.09 – 11.1.09
OPENING: FRIDAY, 10.02.09 6-8P

RayKo is proud to present a show that features nine tiny bombs beautifully frozen, lightning illuminating the Polish countryside and landscapes that lava left transformed.

Ben Nixon’s latest photographs focus upon the basic elements of the collodion process. The 19th century technique he has used to make these images builds a certain conceptual connection to the subject matter (the subtle minutia and undercurrents that form the topography of the American West), by inviting the serendipitous nature of the wet-plate process to create the mood and portray the sense that both the resulting image and the land itself are formed by a well-organized improvisation. Nixon then enlarges his glass plate negatives and creates huge gelatin silver prints. The viewer can experience the details of the moving collodion and the shifting landscape of the West simultaneously.

On another continent, Hendrik Paul was watching the land too. While leaning out the window of a moving train in a lightning storm, he made long hand-held exposures, using the lightning as his flash. Still using traditional film, Paul explores the natural world and its impact on the human spirit and the environment.

The appropriated images used in Susan Seubert’s “Bombs in a Box” (tic, tac, toe) are all from the United States’ archives and are believed to be within the public domain. In the 1983 film War Games, tic-tac-toe is used as an allegory for nuclear war. In the climax of the film, the protagonist prevents an out of control military defense computer from launching nuclear missiles by making it repeatedly play tic-tac-toe against itself. After quickly learning that good strategy by both players produces no winner, the computer then plays through all known nuclear strike scenarios, again finding no winner. The computer concludes that, “The only winning move is not to play.” The same year as the release of the movie, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, a retired Soviet Air Defense Forces lieutenant colonel who, according to several sources, averted a nuclear war on September 26, 1983, when he deviated from standard Soviet doctrine by positively identifying a missile attack warning, that had been activated by a Soviet spy satellite, as a false alarm. He was later honored at the United Nations in New York City for his actions.

Come see this silvery suggestive exhibition that makes us appreciate the beauty of destruction and the possibilities of seeing things in a different way…